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Time Flies…

Posted by | Posted in Random | Posted on 04-12-2009

“So this is Christmas…”

I can’t believe that it’s only three weeks until Christmas! It seems like just yesterday a friend was reminding me that Christmas is “only six weeks away”, and now it’s practically here. I’ve been gloating about how organised I’ve been on the Christmas presents front, but in reality most people have started to buy them by now anyway!

It’s been a couple of weeks since I last posted, and in what’s fast becoming a tradition, I’m posting again on a Friday. I guess the reason is that because it’s a Friday, most people are thinking more about the weekend than the work they should be doing.

I’m spending tomorrow running around in a local town buying things (mostly for other people) and sorting things out (mostly for myself I hope). But on Sunday I’ll be off to Thetford for a few games of Laser Quest/Laser Combat/Laser Something. The last few outings we’ve been out on have been for paintballing, but this time we decided to go with something a little cheaper, and went for laser games instead. It’s still outdoors mind you, and at this time of the year it probably won’t be warm (or dry) but I’m looking forward to it nonetheless.

Someone was talking to me recently about a programme they saw on TV regarding new types of semi-conductors made out of diamonds. As modern computing goes, we’re coming to the end of the line with silicone-based microprocessors. Although we’re able to produce smaller and smaller transistors (and hence, smaller and smaller chips) we’re not able to easily (and cheaply) overcome the problems of over-heated circuits. The small the silicone chips we make, the bigger the problem with overheating can become.

This TV show was a documentary about how scientists are manipulating the properties of diamonds to overcome this problem. They’re able to “grow” diamonds in a lab over the course of a couple of days, and then use those diamonds instead of silicone to produce microchips. Because of the diamond’s extreme resistence to heat, pressure and other external stimuli, the diamond-based chips can be made far smaller than conventional chips, can withstand far greater temperatures without melting, and can therefore be clocked at speeds much faster than traditional chips. Not only that, but the cost of producing these diamonds is roughly on par with the costs of producing tiny silicone circuits.

While trawling through search results for these magic diamonds, I came across this article which I’ve yet to read, but it looks as though it explains things a little better than I just did.

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